People associated with Anonymous, the collective of Internet activists, have their eyes on Phoenix.
A press release from Anonymous introduces "Operation Justice4Savannah," which points out that murder and child-abuse charges were dropped against the two people accused of being responsible for the brutal death of 2-year-old Savannah Cross.
Police said a couple that run something of an unlicensed babysitting service was responsible for Savannah's death, in December. Ryan Reed, then 27, admitted to abusing the girl, and his wife, then-28-year-old Allison Clement, knew that the abuse was happening, yet didn't do anything about it.
Yet, just a matter of weeks ago, the charges against Reed and Clement were dropped.
Court filings indicate that the medical examiner's office was very slow to get some tests done, and a deputy Maricopa County attorney assigned to the case repeatedly told the judge that these tests would be in any day -- which turned out to not be true. The Maricopa County Attorney's Office, in subsequent court filings, referred to this as some grave miscommunication.
Either way, the charges were dismissed -- for now, at least.
This obviously doesn't sit well with anyone who's heard about the case.
Court documents indicate Savannah sustained "extensive trauma to include deep tissue bruising, pattern bruising, swelling and abrasions from head to toe, front to back."
"The medical staff described the bruises as 'too many to count,'" a probable-cause statement said. "These bruises appeared to be in different stages of healing, and could not have been caused by a single traumatic event."
Reed and Clement had been watching Savannah full-time for several weeks leading up to her death. A Phoenix police spokesman told us last year that Savannah's mother simply "needed the help." The mother would show up at the house occassionally to pay Clement and Reed, police said.
Meanwhile, Reed took to what he called "discipline" of Savannah, by smacking her and flicking her. According to court documents, Reed said he tripped and "stomped" the girl right in the abdomen on one occasion, which apparently turned out to be the fatal blow.
"The victim immediately curled up with her arms around her abdomen and spent the rest of the evening in this posture," according to the probable-cause statement. "Reed said that he ultimately picked her up and placed her in her playpen that evening and heard her making groaning sounds throughout the night."
Reed and Clement sought medical attention, but not until the next morning, when they found Savannah unresponsive.
Investigators eventually discovered that Savannah was sexually abused too, according to court documents.
A letter previously submitted to the court by Savannah's grandmother sums up how horrifying Savannah's death was:
Our family does not get to go visit Savannah anymore in between our trials and pain. But, when we do, we go on top of a mountain more than a thousand miles away where she is buried, overlooking the valley she was born in. Savannah's remains were bruised from head to toe, front to back, hair in tatters, skin on multiple areas -torn, cut, bitten, blinded, forcibly raped and forcibly sodomized, left to die in her own feces and urine as she cried out in anguish, only to be ignored.
Savannah's remains were so damaged, we could not have a public viewing. Savannah was unrecognizable. Our family is left to live with that pain and torment ... and without Savannah to brighten the day or let us relish in the successes she now will never have. We can go visit the place her bruised and tattered remains now lay, but she will never be able to sit in her Grammy's lap ... ever again.
And no one's facing any punishment for that -- again, for now.
That's still upsetting to Anonymous, which places some specific blame in its press release:
Anonymous and the Cross family wish to thank the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, Phoenix Police Homicide Division, all first responders, and the Maricopa County Attorney's office for a job well done. We stand fully in support of each of you. Our opinion of the Medical Examiner's office differs slightly.
Maricopa County Medical Examiner's Office; you now have our attention. It is clear that you have sat on this case in order to try and boost your budget. Anonymous, the people of Arizona, and the people of the World reject this tactic. It is on you to ensure that this evidence is now processed promptly and correctly so that these monsters may be recharged. Put simply, do your job. We are watching you. Fail and you may expect us.
Anonymous has learned that Savannah's mother, Ashley Dattoli Livengood, is now employed by the Veterans Administration Hospital in Phoenix. Anonymous rejects this as suitable employment for Ms. Livengood. It is our collective opinion that this individual, regardless of licensing, is unfit to care for our veterans or for anyone else. We hereby demand her discharge, effective immediately.
All be advised that Anonymous is watching this case very closely. We demand justice for Savannah Cross.
Indeed, there's a website set up by Anonymous with information on the case, and some calls for action.
People with Anonymous have raised a lot of hell for other causes, so who knows what might happen if the charges don't come back some time soon.
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